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Woodlawn School Announces Largest Gift in School History

by | Nov 23, 2020 | Bottom Left Box, News, School News (K-12)

Woodlawn School, an independent K-12 school noted for project based learning and academic excellence, has received a milestone gift from its founding family. Karen and Dwayne Bowman have donated the land and original buildings they purchased to establish the school 18 years ago. The gift, valued at $4.8 million, consists of 61 acres and five buildings including a historic home built in 1836. The donation is one of the largest received by an independent school in North Carolina and reinforces Woodlawn School’s position as a K-12 school of distinction in the Southeast.

Karen and Dwayne Bowman

The Bowmans founded Woodlawn School in 2002 after moving to the Lake Norman area from the west coast. Not being able to find a school offering small classes and an integrated curriculum, they decided to create one. While they began the school with only seven students and two small buildings, their vision was to create a complete K-12 school with a rigorous and engaging curriculum, a strong focus on service, competitive athletics, and a rich arts program. Today Woodlawn serves over 200 students on its historic campus, has graduated eleven classes, and combines both outdoor learning areas and indoor classroom settings.

In announcing their gift the Bowmans offered, “We founded the school because we wanted a place where students could take chances in their learning journey — led by dedicated teachers — and where they could see the benefits of the hard work necessary to become lifelong learners. Since our opening day Woodlawn School has graduated 141 alumni who have attended many of the top colleges in the country. They are what makes us the proudest. As we begin to look toward the school’s 20th year, it seems like a good time to create a permanent, physical foundation upon which the school can continue to grow and thrive.”

Receiving the gift on behalf of the school, Board Chair, Jim Folds commented, “This is a transformative gift for Woodlawn School. Karen and Dwayne Bowman gave our school its identity and with the generosity and permanence of this gift they are ensuring that this campus will remain devoted to creating lifelong learners.”

“To say this is an incredible gift would be an understatement,” said Paul Zanowski, Woodlawn Head of School. “Karen and Dwayne Bowman have done much more than donate land and buildings in a highly valuable area, they have created a school that is a rich community asset offering a powerful way of learning. They have transformed so many lives and, through Woodlawn, will do so for generations to come. We are forever grateful.”


About Woodlawn School

Woodlawn is an independent, nonprofit school founded in 2002 and accredited by both the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Woodlawn offers a challenging, project-based academic experience. Woodlawn is located on a scenic 61-acre campus one mile north of Davidson, North Carolina, easily accessible from Interstate 77 and the surrounding Lake Norman communities.

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